Captured F6F

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Apr 12, 2006
Barnegat, NJ
I saw on a modeling website a set of decals that had a Grumman F6F Hellcat with Japanese markings on it that had apparently been captured. I understand the Japanese got ahold of a lot of P-40s, B-17s etc. early on in the Phillipines and such, but how did they get a Hellcat???? Anybody know anything about this?


Could be BuNo. 71441 with side number 29 from VF-44. Flown by Lt. Charles V. August when he skidded in on Formosa on 4 January 1945. August was captured and shipped off to a POW camp near Tokyo. He managed to survive his captivity. Interestingly, Chuck August was probably the only naval aviator who was twice a POW. He was captured and held by the Vichy French when shot down during Operation Torch. Repatriated after the cease fire, he returned to VF-4 and was later transferred to VF-44.
Some pictures, please.


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Did the Japanese manage to test any Hellcat? I have only read references to the extremely stong construction.
At least a set of Hellcat was tested at a naval base in Yokosuka.
It was given a registration number "ヨ(yo)-801".

The F6F captured in Taiwan was displayed in a shrine nearby the base.
No one knew where it had gone after that.
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Hello Shinpachi

At least a set of Hellcat was tested at a naval base in Yokosuka.
It was given a registration number "ヨ(yo)-801".

Did any of the Japanese pilots make any comments? there is quite a bit of information on the P-51 testing but not on Hellcat/Corsair.
Hello, alejandro_.

I only remember the following descriptions from a book writen by Teruo Miyoshi - a former IJA radioman.
This article was introduced in my old thread "IJA Secret Intelligence Team at Chofu".
Sorry for my clumsy translation.

Article No.79

Performances of the U.S. fighters
Author: Mr. Teruo Miyoshi

The weather was so bad with heavy rains from the morning that it was hard for me to expect air-raid by the U.S. planes on that day but I prepared for sortie before going to the standby room.
"We are just about to have a lecture by Lieutenant Y(*Masato Yokota) on the air-combat tactics from now. Why don't you have it together? It would be any useful for you too." Sergeant-major suggested me.

I had experienced Sergeant-major's fearless air-combats many times but I knew that he was acknowledging Lieutenant's superiority with respect and I myself had been longing for hearing his talks some time, including his combat experience too. I answered "Yes, please."

Lieutenant commenced-

"Each military aircraft has advantage and disadvantage by the model. Unless you learn those performances of U.S. military aircrafts by the model sufficiently to fight, you have no chance to win. It is most important that you daily grasp their performances well so that you don't fight relying on your guts only. Then, you will be prepared enough not to be panicked anytime you may be attacked by them abruptly. At the same time you train the spirit of 'Know the enemy to know yourself', it is most important that you have such mental attitude that you are ready to act cool anytime. That is the turningpoint of life and death. I explain their performances by the model."

1. Grumman carrier-borne fighter F6F-3 Hellcat(U.S.Navy)
This aircraft is sturdy and simple. Another masterpiece of so-called "Grumman Ironworks".
Hellcat is what Wildcat is resized bigger and improved faster. A huge radial engine of 18-cylinder with 2000hp which exceeds that of Mitsubishi Zero Fighter is mounted. Combined with the performance and the sturdiness, it was regarded as a top level fighter in the Pacific front.

a. Sturdy Grumman structure.
b. Easy to maneuver.
c. Speed and activation are excellent.
d. Equipped with very heavy armament.
e. Bullet-proof facilities are sturdy.

a. Not the fastest U.S. fighter.
b. Not necessarily so agile as Zero fighter.

[Hints for air-combat]
As Hellcat is agile and equipped with the powerful engine, combat at altitude 18,000 to 21,000feet is risky.
Therefore, it is also a sort of tactics for you to bring the opponent into the low altitude combat.
When attacked, wrap against the enemy and attack from its front making use of your firearms as much as possible.
Showing your tail is risky. Also, as Hellcat pilots think their teamwork tactics as an insurance, once the team is broken into 1 v 1 fight, it is unexpectedly easy for you to fight but you must study how to break the formation first.

2. Lockheed P-38F Lightning Fighter(U.S.Army)
When I encountered this fighter for the first time, I was impressed very much with its unique appearance that one can never forget and high performance. Equipped with twin liquid-cooled Allison V12 engines, long range flight on the ocean is possible. As torque effect is counteracted by the propellers that rotate in opposite directions each other, flight is smooth.

This is also popular with their pilots because of its heavy armament which is mounted on the nose altogether with the nose-wheel to compose a favorable 3-wheel landing gear system. Superior diving to other fighters is possible but the high speed in diving often causes vibration on its twin booms and the tail wings could be broken to crash unless the vibration is well controlled. In addition, this fighter is not so agile in circling as other fighters because of its size and weight but, combining with its high engine power, excellent sudden rising is possible.

a. Hi-speed, sufficient rate of climb and good diving characteristics.
b. heavy armament which is concentrated on the nose.
c. The reverse rotation propellers counteract the torque effect.
d. Long range flight is possible with the twin engines. Twin is safer than single.

a. Not so maneuverable as a lightweight single engine fighter.
b. In hard diving from extremely high altitude, vibration is generated by the compression property of air and there is a possibility of aerial disintegration. This is particular to Type F.
c. Allison engine of turbo charger type has a risk of injury under the cold weather.
d. Air combat at lower altitude with slower speed is not advantageous for this fighter.

3. Vought F4U Corsair Fighter(U.S.Navy Marine Corps)
Corsair has adopted the inverted gull wing for the shorter leg to prevent the large propeller from cutting the flight deck of aircraft carrier when landing. At early stage of operation, we heard that oleo was so hard and bouncy that there was an accident the plane jumped over the cable for arrestor hook.
Because of this disadvantage, its operational adtivities were limited within the land till April 1944 but was to return to dominate the Pacific together with Grumman F6F as Navy and Marines began to use them from carrier and land.

But, because of long nose, foreward visibility is so bad that final landing approach to the carrier was difficult.
Corsair is, however, a completed fighter with the top class performances of acceleration, speed and maneuverability.
I had several air-combats with it. A tough opponent.
One of my comrades at the time called Corsair "Whistling Death" because, I think, the sound the large oil coolers in the wing cut the wind in diving was characteristic.

a. High speed and superior maneuverability.
b. Heavy armament that no other fighters have.

a. Risk for take-off and landing is higher than any other carrier-based aircrafts because the foreward visibility is limited.
b. Careless spin is often risky as it has a tendency of nose-down to spin wildly.

There are other U.S. fighters I have encountered but the fighters to be mentioned in particular are these three.
We are not a fighting unit when our primary mission is search and reconnaissance. But thinking about the present circumstances that they have the command of the air over the Pacific Ocean, such situation that we can't avoid not only the enemy planes but following air-combat with them will happen several times. Know the opponent's performances first and know their disadvantages in details by the model. I wish you all a good fight."

By the way, Lieutenant's bullet injury on his leg was said given by a Corsair during air-combat.
Giving a temporary hemostasis, he flew about 60 miles to home.
Much bleeding brought him into a state of dim consciousness and he woke up to find himself on a bed of the field hospital.

What he remembered was a thud when his plane(*Ki-43 Oscar) landed and a couple of bounces before he lost his consciousness.
His opponent Corsair exploded in mid-air to crash. What I was impressed with Lieutenant's personality was he was never proud of his war-result but kept telling us his story with no exaggerations.

/End of Article No.79
This article was introduced in my old thread "IJA Secret Intelligence Team at Chofu".
Sorry for my clumsy translation.

Thanks a lot Shinpachi, the report is really interesting. The guys at the old thread are right, you bring an unique point of view in the discussions.

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